Clarke sure Viru will return to the team

New Delhi: Axed Virender Sehwag has vowed that he will be back. Australia captain Michael Clarke, too, believes that the India opener has the talent and ability to make a comeback to the team.

Clarke, who is the world No.2 Test batsman and the only Australian to feature in the top 30, said that he rates Sehwag as one of world's top batsmen.

"I shouldn't be speaking on selection of Indian players as I am too focussed on the Australian team. But Sehwag is a fantastic cricketer, in all three formats of the game. I am sure he would be back in the team," Clarke said on the sidelines of a promotional.

Talking about his own team, the captain expressed confidence that even after facing two crushing defeats in the ongoing Test series, they have the firepower to fight back and win the third Test, which begins in Mohali, from Thursday.

"Yes, of course we can make a comeback… If we can win the third Test in Mohali, then we have a chance to make it 2-2 also," a confident Clarke said.

Then, a smiling Clarke quipped: "Had there been a fifth Test, I am sure we would have won the series 3-2."

It's not always that a captain admits that his team have been completely outplayed by the opposition. But Clarke belongs to a different league, and he didn't shy away from fact that the Indians played much better cricket. At the same time, he revealed that they have learned from the mistakes they committed in the first two Tests.

"India have been playing really good… They have played better in all departments of the game ' batting, bowling, and fielding. But we have learned a lot from our mistakes in the first two Tests. Now, we are going into the third Test as a more experienced team," he said.

And he didn't forget to remind that the Australians never give up. "We know it's going to be tough… But it's in our nature not to give up. Australia will fight till the end."

Clarke, however, did not agree to the point that the Aussies were not fully prepared for the India test. "That's not right… I offer no excuses for losing. Credit goes to India for playing better cricket," he said.

The captain was also not much worried with the criticism that they are facing from the Australian media.

"It happens… It's part of the game. When you play for Australia, the expectations are always high. We have to play well and come back in the series."

Clarke bypassed the home-away debate and said that it is useless to think whether they would have played better had the series been played in Australia.

"Everyone in the world wants to play in his own backward… But then, that's not possible… That's what international cricket is all about. As a team, we have to improve."

Citing inexperience in handling Indian conditions as one of the reasons for his team's poor display in the series so far, Clarke said: "Only a few players in the current team have the experience of playing Test matches in India.

"The conditions here are tough and demanding… The pitches, food, the weather… Everything is different. But our boys are trying their best."

On Thursday, Clarke and his wife went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Asked about his experience, Clarke said: "It was great and magnificent… After all, it's one of the seven wonders in the world."

Meanwhile, coach Mickey Arthur told a website that the team's struggles in India won't have an impact on the Ashes.

"It's probably not that fair a barometer," Arthur said of India compared to the Ashes.

"I was pretty scared when I looked at the schedule because we'd been building a top-six and a team. We were nearly the finished article, then we lose 300 Test caps.

"In my thinking Ponting and Hussey were coming to the Ashes. We had them pencilled in to come to the Ashes so we had some stability in the top six.

"We thought we had experience, some good young players and it was the perfect blend. We then lose both those players."

Related reports: Page 16


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